Jonathan Downard photograph

Praise and Malaise

June 1, 2005

Praise to Real Time with Bill Maher, for presenting one of the best free speech/open discussion forums on television. Maher and co. try very hard to get conservatives to come on the show and stand up with the liberals and moderates for what they believe in. Praise to moderate Maher for a consistent stream of honestly logical social and political commentary. Praise to Martin Short, who appeared on the show and said, "In my country (Canada), no politician would ever get elected if he mentioned GOD." Praise to Jane Fonda, Madeleine Albright, Bob Dole, and everyone else who has said his/her piece on this show. I can only wish Malaise on a few of the angry conservatives who, instead of standing their ground with maturity, have grown wrath and red-faced, shouting insults when their own brand of logic was challenged on the show. (HBO)

Malaise to Stacked, FOX's feeble attempt at revamping Pamela Anderson's TV career. The near-40 starfucker failed to bring anything to the table but her implants, and a decent ensemble cast including Christopher Lloyd couldn't save this poorly written shitcom about a bookstore employing Pam's character as the sexy new book peddler to attract male customers. I'm not sure, but this show may have already been cancelled. Praise to FOX if they don't try to sell us more of this stuff. Stick to what works: Family Guy.

Praise to Nine Inch Nails for holding their ground on another free speech issue. They have cancelled their previously announced appearance at the "2005 MTV Movie Awards", which will be taped on June 4. NIN founder and frontman, Trent Reznor, had this to say: "We were set to perform 'The Hand That Feeds' with an unmolested straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently the image of our President is as offensive to MTV as it is to me. See you on tour this fall when we return to play in America."

Malaise to MTV, owned by Viacom (CBS' parent corporation), for such a blatant attempt at censorship. Oddly enough, MTV and other music television stations have no problem with playing videos like "The Hand That Feeds," a song which is fairly clearly warning against mixing religious zeal and world politics; and "B.Y.O.B," a song by System of a Down which criticizes the President for sending the poor to die while remaining behind... subtly drawing an analogy to days of yore when the kings of warring nations, although in the back lines, were present in armor and on horseback at the field of battle. MTV had these comments about their dilemma: "While we respect Nine Inch Nails' point of view, we were uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement. When we discussed our discomfort with the band, their choice was to unfortunately pull out of the Movie Awards." Why don't you just come out and admit it MTV? You are a network of corporate lapdogs and political pawns. I first noticed it when I went to the 1994 Woodstock (parody) and saw all of the massive advertising for Pepsico and the like... Then, I noticed that music videos were more steadily being replaced by stupid reality shows and dating games. And, later I noticed that wooden-dummy-puppet Carson Daly would say how great he thought any new song he was told to push was... I realize that it's all bought and sold, and so are MTV's opinions and personalities, but what happened to MUSIC TELEVISION? 15 YEARS OF MALAISE to MTV for not having been what they claim: about the music. Rock the Vote to the highest bidder, eh!

Praise to Burger King and that guy from Hootie and the Blowfish for making one of the most campy yet entertaining commercials I've ever seen. Never have Darius or the melody to "Big Rock Candy Mountain" sounded so good to my ears... Rarely do I get to see such an honest display of what really works in advertising: sex and silliness. I'm not endorsing anyone's food, but I love 'em for putting it right out there for us to "come and get it." The commercial pretty much admits that it's not healthy: deep-fried "tender crisp bacon cheddar ranch."

Malaise on all the lame-o, happy little soccer mommies and religious groups for giving BK and Hootie so much flack. The same goes to the people that are trying to shut down the beer ads with wet girls wrestling, etc, etc. As much as I loathe advertising by nature, I cannot abide by people who call themselves Americans yet are dying to censor everything. Now they're picking on another fast food chain for using Paris Hilton in swimwear in their new ad. READ THE FIRST AMENDMENT! I can email you a copy of the entire U.S. Constitution, if you like! What people don't seem to realize is that sheltering children only makes them more curious. No experience with sex, violence, and harsh language only produces a young adult who is either obsessed or paralyzed with them later in life. Wake up, do-gooders! In case you haven't noticed, the wildest college kids are the ones that come from an oppressive home.

Super-Malaise on the 2005 American Idol Competition. This year it was an even cheesier vehicle for a mountain of advertising... Cingular Wireless execs are rolling it, smoking it, and choking on it. Shame on FOX for continuing to represent it as a fairly-voted competition or a talent contest. If it were an actual competition based on talent, the following mistakes would not have been made:

Choosing Anthony Fedorov over Constantine Maroulis.

Choosing Anthony Fedorov over anyone but Lindsay Cardinale, who couldn't carry a tune, for that matter.

Choosing Carrie Underwood over either Vonzell Solomon or Bo Bice, who both displayed better range, soul, and voice control. It seems to me like White America just wanted another country girl with a big ass, and they got one.

Oh yeah-- and Malaise to Paula Abdul for continuing to give the less-talented false hope with her reliably glowing reviews. She needs to realize that she's not encouraging improvement or helping hopefuls in any way by tooting their out-of-tune horns.

Praise to HBO's Six Feet Under for starting out as one of the most engaging, shocking, and well-written shows on television. Full of drama, comedy, and real surrealism, its characters both endear you and disgust you as they reel you into their world of life and death.

Malaise to Six Feet Under for since having become another whore of advertising. Product placements and cheesy lines about certain items have been increasingly more prominent as the seasons wear on. Bush's Baked Beans, fast food companies... Did you think we wouldn't notice? The worst was when David Fisher enters the room saying, "Why do we keep buying this fake stuff? It never works like the real Windex." Come on, guys-- it's just ammonia-based window cleaner. And I thought I paid for HBO so I could watch programming without the lame-brained advertising schemes on all the other networks.

Praise to you for having read this far. See you next month with more news of the awesome and the awful. Remember, the First Amendment warrants you the right to say whatever you want, wherever you want, regardless of the messages our increasingly fascist establishment is sending. Praise to everyone out there with the courage and foresight to speak up NOW! For your copy of the U.S. Constitution, email me at: mark10_18@yahoo.com .

copyright 2005, Jonathan Downard

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